Soil erosion and degradation in a rapidly expanding industrial area of Eastern Mediterranean basin (Thriasio plain, Greece)

Sigalos, G; Loukaidi, V; Dasaklis, S; Drakopoulou, P; Salvati, L; Ruiz, P Serra; Mavrakis, A

Natural Hazards 82(3): 2187-2200


ISSN/ISBN: 0921-030X
DOI: 10.1007/s11069-016-2288-y
Accession: 064916046

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This study investigates soil erosion in a rapidly expanding industrial region of Eastern Mediterranean basin (Thriasio plain, Greece), controlling how geomorphology, topography, soil drainage and vegetation cover shape the local erosivity rate. Our results show that Thriasio plain is characterized by medium–low classes of soil vulnerability in the actual environmental conditions. However, in an 'extreme conditions' scenario, areas with sharp slope, a branched hydrographical network and low vegetation cover are classified at high vulnerability to soil erosion. A field study has been implemented considering extreme natural conditions (January 2004) driven by rapid snow melting determining an exceptionally high volume of water flooding down to the sea through a seasonal stream. This episode was considered a 'natural experiment' when assessing extreme soil erosion conditions. Based on theoretical calculations and field measurements, our results confirm the estimated value of soil erosion under the 'extreme conditions' scenario illustrated above.